Overview of Forest Monitoring and Measurement Systems

The forest monitoring systems developed by the federal government are a fundamental component of the country's REDD + efforts, since they provide key information for the planning of public policies. The systems are based on remote sensing, using information collected by satellites. Brazil has systems that allow monitoring of forest cover over time, identifying where deforestation is occurring and analyzing the dynamics of land use change.

Having a robust national forest monitoring system that allows monitoring and reporting on REDD + activities is one of the requirements countries must meet to implement REDD +. It is worth mentioning that countries can adopt subnational systems as an interim measure, as Brazil has done with its biomes approach.

The monitoring systems allow the country to elaborate its historical series for REDD + activities and periodically generate data for results to be measured from the reference levels of forest emissions based on the historical series

The main developer of monitoring systems of the federal government is the National Institute of Space Research (INPE), linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications. INPE still maintains partnerships for the development of systems with the Brazilian Ministry of Environment (MMA), the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), linked to the Ministry of Agriculture , Livestock and Supply (MAPA), and Public universities.

The primary monitoring systems in operation are:

  • PRODES- The PRODES project conducts satellite monitoring deforestation in the Legal Amazon and produces annual deforestation rates in the region, which provide information of great relevance for the formulation of Brazilian public policies. PRODES uses satellite images of the Landsat class (20 to 30 meters of spatial resolution), which allow mapping deforestation polygons larger than 6.25 hectares. PRODES data, which has a historical series beginning in 1988, were used in the elaboration of Brazilian submissions on REDD + for the Amazon biome.
  • DETER- This system provides near real-time detection of changes in forest cover in the Legal Amazon. The changes in forest cover that DETER maps are forest clear cutting, forest degradation which leads to deforestation and forest fire scars. DETER maps may also include areas with logging activities. The information produced is fundamental to the effectiveness of the integrated control actions that combat deforestation in the region, guiding its planning. Its historical series began in 2004.
  • DEGRAD- system, developed by INPE, to track forest degradation in the Legal Amazon. The system, which produced data for the period between 2007 and 2013, had the objective of mapping areas in the process of deforestation where the forest cover had not yet been totally removed. In the coming years, monitoring of degradation in the Legal Amazon will focus on fire degradation, based on the information produced by the Burning and Fire Monitoring Program.
  • Fire and Fire Monitoring Program- The program monitors the occurrence of fires, with the purpose of providing daily information about fire sources to environmental protection institutions - through reports, graphs and statistics of fire outbreaks. With the information already available, INPE is developing a methodology to automate the calculation of burned area estimates.
  • TerraClass- a survey that analyzes the areas identified as deforested to identify how such areas are occupied after removal of native vegetation. The project has already produced 5 surveys on the Legal Amazon (2004, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014) and a survey on the Cerrado biome (2013). TerraClass produces valuable information for the analysis and formulation of policies related to land use in the regions where it operates.

The year 2015 marks the beginning of a new phase for environmental monitoring in Brazil, with the creation of the Environmental Monitoring Program for the Brazilian Biomes . The Program aims to articulate and give greater coherence to ongoing monitoring efforts in the country, as well as to expand the monitoring of plant cover for all Brazilian biomes by 2018.

Total Forest Carbon
1,472 M MtC
Reference Levels and Targets
Deforestation Reference Rate
1,888 km²/yr 2015 - 2020
Potential Annual CO₂ Avoided
Rio Branco Declaration Deforestation Reduction Goal [1]
446 km²/yr 2020
Deforestation Dynamics Monitoring
Deforestation Rates [2]
Rio Branco Declaration based on national FREL 2010-2015